Supervision is a “shared journey” for both the supervisee and the supervisor, the latter providing the safe environment in which the former can reflect, continue to grow, take risks, and trust themselves in every aspect of their profession and their work with clients.
Just as the “secure base” (Bowlby 1988) is critical to a child’s growth and development, supervision plays a key role in enabling a therapist’s growth and development. The supervisor needs to provide the safe and protected space in which to explore with the supervisee the latter’s work with their clients, develop their skills and quality professional practice, recognize the challenges they face, develop introspection and decision making, all within an ethical framework that supports them and their work.
The goal of supervision is to give supervisees everything they need to enrich their work with clients, to develop their personal style of working, and at the same time to look after their own wellbeing while working in their profession. In this way, supervisees can develop effective skills and manage their work with more interest and satisfaction.
Supervision not only examines supervisees’ relationships with their clients, but also provides supervisees with the appropriate assistance to offer their clients interventions of the highest quality, to manage themselves, and to improve their professional affairs so that they feel as secure and satisfied as possible. Thus, supervision can have three dimensions: Training, Supporting and Assisting in management.
To achieve all this, the supervisor must continue to train and improve their own skills in this “common journey”. They must be able to challenge and support in a balanced way. Provoke and support as much as possible to help the supervisee mobilize, be interested in learning, and feel confident to apply the new knowledge and skills.
For best results through the supervisor-supervisee relationship, it is important that roles and expectations are clear from the beginning of the collaboration. For this reason, it is important that they have mutually agreed to a contract that details the scope of their collaboration.